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The groundbreaking for phase two and additional units in phase one of Parañaque City's socialized housing project supported by DMCI Homes was held at the relocation site for informal settlers in Barangay La Huerta on Feb. 10.
Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez, Parañaque Congressman Eric L. Olivarez and officials of DMCI Homes, Rotary Homes Foundation (RHF), Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP), Couples for Christ Answering the Cry of the Poor (CFC Ancop) and South Metro Manila iHome Foundation (iHome) led the ceremonial capsule laying and shoveling for the second phase of the Bagong Parañaque Housing Project (BPHP) and additional 51 housing units in the site's first phase called Parañaque Ancop Rotary Homes 1 (PAR Homes 1).
Vice Mayor Rico Golez, local officials involved in the project, home beneficiaries and a musical band also graced the Monday afternoon ceremony that included a prayer and blessing of the groundbreaking spots.
Mayor Olivarez thanked DMCI Homes for sponsoring the building of 90 homes in the 132-home PAR Homes 1 and 100 more units in the second phase.
"Phase 1 one is not yet complete and yet you are back again helping us do phase 2," the mayor said during the event that formed part of the city's weeklong celebration of its 16th cityhood anniversary. "Indeed, if we are together and united, we can raise the status of living of our countrymen."
DMCI Homes Vice President for Legal Affairs Atty. Roel Pacio described the ceremony as the fulfillment of the company's part in the project located in a 5-hectare property within the Don Galo estuary and C-5 Extension road.
"It is our aspiration that these informal settlers will have a real home to later fulfill their dreams and have a better life," Pacio said.
He assured that DMCI Homes, through its corporate social responsibility program called Kaakbay, shall continue to be a partner in the noble task of helping the underprivileged.
DMCI Homes donated in March 2013 P9 million for the construction of 90 homes in Phase 1 of the project. Last month, the property developer turned over P14.7 million in donation to Mayor Olivarez to fund the construction of 100 homes in Phase 2.
Also thanking DMCI Homes were Sid Garcia, chairman of RHF, which is implementing the first phase of the BPHP together with CFC Ancop; Charlito Ayco, CEO of HFHP, which will implement phase two together with iHome; and residents represented by PAR Homeowners Association C-5 Extension president Warren Fernando.
The Fernando family is among the beneficiaries of the completed DMCI Homes-sponsored units in PAR Homes 1. He and the other residents constructed the houses in Phase 1. Fernando was awarded a corner unit last year and is now living there with his wife and two daughters.
"We were so happy when we were awarded the unit," recalled the 40-year-old Fernando, who had lived all his life in a shanty along the Parañaque River. "Who would not want to have his or her own home?"
Fernando added, "This home is better than our previous home along the riverbank because we are safe."
The banks of the Parañaque River are a danger zone to informal settlers, the reason why the city government decided to build socialized houses where they could be relocated. During storms, floods threaten to sweep away shanties, said Fernando, who works as an administrator at the Parañaque City Hall's traffic management office.
Planes taking off from the nearby airport passes above the community, but Fernando said they can get used to the jet noise.
Another advantage of living in the new community is that they learn value formation that CFC Ancop teaches them, according to Fernando. They also follow a covenant with CFC Ancop that includes abstaining from alcohol, gambling and womanizing.
"In this community, residents not only have new homes but new lives and manners," he said.
The HFHP also expects to fulfill its mission of developing people's lives through decent homes through phase 2 of the BPHP.
"A home is the first step to changing a person's life for the better. You have to put a person inside a decent home first so he or she can develop," Ayco said.
Meanwhile, Garcia revealed that the foundation is preparing to conduct livelihood training and will donate fishing boats for residents of PAR Homes 1. Congressman Olivarez, who represents the city's first district, said he will donate a multi-purpose hall for the community.
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